ADJUDICATION means a decision which is rendered by a competent authority or a judge on disputed or disagreed issues.
It is often disputed or disagreed in the matters of stamp duty payable by persons seeking registration of certain instruments.
In spite of clear description of chargeability of stamp duty unde`r the various Articles of the Karnataka Stamp Act, disagreements between executants and the registering authority and also certain doubts do enter into the minds of person wanting to register.
In order to remove such disagreements or doubts, any person is empowered under the provisions of the Karnataka Stamp Act 1957 to adjudicate the issue or seek the opinion of the District Registrar/ Deputy Commissioner as to proper stamp duty to avoid complications like, under-valuation and penalty at later stage.
The Registering authority himself is also empowered under the Act to make a reference to the Deputy Commissioner / District Registrar for determination of the stamp duty on the property in case of disagreements or disputes arise where the person is declined to pay the stamp duty set forth by him. As provided under the Act, any instrument which is either executed or not and previously stamped or not can be brought to the District Registrar / Deputy Commissioner to have his opinion as to the Stamp Duty with which it is chargeable.
For doing so, the person should make an application with a fee of Rs.100 and also furnish an abstract of the instrument and an affidavit or other evidence as would support his claim on set forth value or such duty to be determined by the District Registrar.
On receipt of such application along with fee, abstract of the instrument or other evidences, the Deputy Commissioner/District Registrar having satisfied in all respects, shall make his best judgment to determine the stamp duty to be payable or decide that the duty claimed by the person suffices the correct description of chargeability or else decide that the stamp duty already paid is equal to the duty so determined by him or in his opinion, such instrument is not chargeable. After satisfying the case, the Deputy Commissioner / District Registrar shall certify the endorsement on such instrument accordingly and appropriately.
It is also provided that the District Registrar/Deputy Commissioner may also refuse to proceed in this Adjudication, if the person does not fulfill the conditions stipulated therein.
The provision of the Act provides that no evidence furnished in pursuance of this adjudication shall be used in any civil proceedings against any person except in any enquiry relating chargeability of stamp duty. Further, every person by whom any such evidence is furnished shall, on payment of the full stamp duty which is commensurate with the chargeability of the instrument, be relieved of penalty for his omission.
Endorsement not empowered
However, the Deputy Commissioner/District Registrar is not empowered under the provision of the Act to give endorsement on the instruments of the types hereunder brought to him.
a) After expiration of one month from the date of its execution or first execution in India.
b) Executed or first executed out of India and brought to him after expiration of three months after it has been first received in the State of Karnataka.
c) Or any instruments chargeable with duty not exceeding fifteen paise or a mortgage crop with a duty of twenty five paise when brought to him after the execution there of, on paper not duly stamped.
Reference for decision
It is also provided under the Act that even the Deputy Commissioner / District Registrar is enabled to refer his own decision in pursuance of this adjudication, in case of his doubt about the chargeability of stamp duty, to the Chief Controlling Revenue Authority who will also give his decision therein. More so, the Chief Controlling Revenue Authority, is also empowered suo moto within five years from the date of order passed by the Deputy Commissioner/ District register, to call for and examine the records relating to such order passed by Deputy Commissioner / Registrar after examining records and hearing the parties, pass an order in writing confirming, modifying or setting aside such order and direct the Deputy Commissioner / District Registrar. Again, the Chief Controlling Revenue Authority can refer its opinion to the High Court of Karnataka for a decision.
Generally, the Sub-Registrar is under duty and obligations to accept the instruments for registration after observing all formalities. In cases where the registering authority is deemed to have set forth the stamp value which, according to the person wanting to register, is more. The person aggrieved can definitely approach the Deputy Commissioner/District Registrar, with application, fee and other documents, for appropriate relief.